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What's open, what's closed on Columbus Day

As the nation marks Columbus Day (although not everyone is a fan), some government services and private businesses will be closed Monday. Here’s the low-down.... Read more»

How a weird law gives one group American nationality but not citizenship

Members of the small American Samoan community are in a legal fight for new recognition. A strange loophole in citizenship law has created two types of Americans: U.S. citizens, and second-class American Samoan U.S. “nationals.” People born of all other U.S. territories — including far­-flung places like the Northern Mariana Islands or Guam — are automatically granted citizenship. So why are American Samoans excluded?... Read more»

The Irish village that’s built a cottage industry as Obama’s ancestral home

Barack Obama’s approval ratings have plunged to George W. Bush levels of unpopularity, with half of Americans saying they don’t like the job he’s doing. But if that news has the president feeling low, he can always take heart that at least one place in the world will always be glad to welcome him home. That would be this tiny County Offaly village in central Ireland that’s built a cottage industry around its unlikely status as the ancestral home — well, an ancestral home — of the 44th president.... Read more»

Arizona foster-care cases rose over decade, as national numbers fell

Arizona saw the number of kids in its foster care system rise significantly from 2002-2012, a time when most other states were posting sharp drops in their foster care rolls, according to new federal data. Advocates said the numbers are more evidence of a state foster care system in crisis, one that has been “overworked and overwhelmed” as budgets have been cut.... Read more»

VA calls for firing of four officials; Phoenix director not on the list

The Department of Veterans Affairs has recommended the removal of four senior officials around the country, but missing from that list is the director of the troubled operation in Phoenix. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said in an email Friday she was “appalled that Sharon Helman (the director of VA health care facilities in Phoenix) continues to receive a paycheck.”

... Read more»

A quarter of Latinos are uninsured

A year after open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began, one in four Latinos does not have health insurance, more than any other ethnic population in the country. And most states are doing little to help those in the coverage gap.... Read more»

Ducey, DuVal differ on driver's licenses for Dreamers

The two main candidates for governor agree on a few things when it comes to immigration, such as saying the federal government hasn’t done enough to deal with border-area crime, but they differ when it comes to issuing driver’s licenses to deferred-action recipients. ... Read more»

Federal judge: Texas voter ID law unconstitutional

Less than two weeks before the start of early voting, a federal judge ruled Texas’s photo voter ID law unconstitutional late Thursday and ordered state officials to drop the new requirements.... Read more»

Gay marriage supporters urge AG to stop defending Az’s ban

Delivering more than 5,000 petition signatures in a little red wagon, supporters of gay marriage called for Attorney General Tom Horne to drop his defense of the state’s ban. A spokeswoman says Horne’s office is required to defend Arizona’s laws against lawsuits.... Read more»

Johnson: Border tighter, but ‘new threats’ to U.S. security loom

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said illegal immigration is down, border security is up and word is getting out to would-be border crossers. But he called for vigilance against new threats from homegrown extremists who leave the U.S. to join groups like ISIS.... Read more»1

Feds unveil streamlined Obamacare website

Consumers using the federal healthcare.gov website when open enrollment begins next month should expect a faster website with a shorter application form and features making it easier to use on mobile devices, Obama administration officials said Wednesday.... Read more»

Another McSally ad lacked military disclaimer

GOP congressional candidate Martha McSally has pulled down a Spanish-language campaign ad after TucsonSentinel.com questioned why it lacked a disclaimer required by Defense Department regulations that cover election activity by retired members of the military. The ad was later reposted online with the disclaimer.... Read more»3

Appeals court upholds Renzi racketeering conviction

The federal circuit court rejected claims by Renzi and associate James Sandlin that the evidence against them was insufficient. Renzi was convicted in 2013 of shifting money from his insurance firm to his campaign and trying to engineer a land deal in exchange for supporting legislation.... Read more»1

What military families need to know about high-cost lenders

Propublica has been reporting on military lenders for over a year. Here’s what you need to know about these high-cost lenders.... Read more»1

Appeals court upholds conviction in Flagstaff police officer’s murder

The court rejected Eric Michael Clark’s argument that lawyers did not push his claims of mental incompetence aggressively enough. Clark, who thought aliens had invaded Flagstaff at the time of the 2000 shooting, needed years of treatment before he was able to stand trial.... Read more»

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